PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has confirmed the 2021 Unibet Premier League will realistically start behind closed doors.

In an exclusive interview with Online Darts, Mr Hearn also discussed:

  • his reaction to Clayton’s win at The Masters
  • how the PDC have adapted to the loss of live crowds
  • his dream to have Blackpool’s Winter Gardens back full for the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay
Barry Hearn confirms to Online Darts that the 2021 Premier League will start with no crowds. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Hearn believes Premier League begins behind closed doors

With Jonny Clayton winning The Masters, he secured the final spot in the 10 man Premier League. However, Hearn thinks the event will not be played in front of fans for the first few weeks.

“I feel it has to be [behind closed doors]. We can’t take the chance. Every time you wait for something, something else happens and you’ve got a disaster on your hands.

“We’re probably looking at the end of March time,” said Hearn when asked about a potential start date. “You don’t want it running right through the summer.

“I’d love to say we’ll be back in front of a live crowd. April may be a little bit early, but at some stage during the Premier League we will have a chance to put live crowds back in.”

Hearn also dismissed the idea that Raymond van Barneveld was also ever in contention for the final Premier League spot, saying that it was always going to be between the 15 players in The Masters field who were not already picked for the event.

“I’ve heard rumours about Raymond van Barneveld… absolute load of rubbish. He never ever ever was in any consideration, because it would not be fair on the 128 who qualified for the tour.”

Mr Hearn called the rumours of Van Barneveld potentially getting the 10th spot “absolute rubbish.” Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Listen to our full exclusive interview with Barry Hearn below.